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Full text of "The struggle for a diocese : being an account of the struggle to secure the erection of the Missionary District of Asheville, North Carolina, into a diocese, compiled chiefly from the District journals, 1894-1919, 1898-1919, with an historical account of some of the transactions incident to the organization of the district collated"

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Struggle for a diocese 
















"I think the greatest obligation resting upon us and the 
the one that will be so considered by the Church in the 
United States is to become a self supporting Diocese at the 
earliest possible date and our growth in financial strength 
in the last few years, warrants the calculation that within 
the next few years we can apply to the General Convention 
for organization into a Diocese." 

Nearly seventeen years have passed since Bishop Horner 
made this statement in his Convention Address at Hickory, 
in June 1902. 

There are a great many of the clergy and laity who be- 
lieve today that this "greatest obligation" still rests upon 
us, only with the added burden of seventeen years of ex- 
istence as a District. 

At the Convention of 1918, an overwhelming majority ex- 
pressed its will that the District should become a Diocese 
forthwith. The following pages give the history of the 
movement set on foot as long ago as 1902. It is a move- 
ment for the good of the Church and for the greater glory 
of GOD. 

When the Diocese is organized according to the Consti- 
tution, the Right Reverend Junius Moore Horner, D. D., will 
automatically advance to the dignity of a Diocesan Bishop. 
Can we not all get together and make the Diocese an ac- 
complished fact at the General Convention to be held in 
October this year. 

Frederick D. Lobdell John H. Pearson 

Chas. E. Waddell James B. Sill 


H. Norwood Bowne William T. Lindsey 

Reginald Howland Cyril E. Bentley 

Herbert D. Miles Charles Mercer Hall 


1 fKQ4- R esomtion adopted in the Convention of thy Dio- 
* ^ "** cese of North Carolina that the Western part of 
the State be set off and offered to the General Church as a 
Missionary District. This occurred at Winston, May, 1894. 

1 ftQ^S At tne Convention of Diocese of North Carolina 
1 O JU hel £ at? ]\i or g an ton the Committee made a favor- 
able report. 

The General Convention meeting in October in Minnea- 
polis consented, after some discussion (doubt being felt by 
some members of the House of Bishops of their power un- 
der our Constitution to alter the territorial extent of a Dio- 
cese in this form), to the setting off of that part of the State 
of North Carolina lying west of the eastern line of the 
Counties of Allegheny, Wilkes, Alexander, Catawba, Lincoln 
and Gaston, by a line running from the State line of Virginia 
to that of South Carolina. 

The House of Bishops however, did not nominate a Bishop 
for the new District. 

When this matter was before the House of Bishops the 
Committee on Domestic Missions, to whom the Memorial 
from North Carolina praying that the cession of territory 
be accepted, reported adversely, assigning three reasons for 
their action: 

First, that there was no statement from the Diocese of 
North Carolina binding it to turn over the property in the 
Missionary District. 

Second, there is no pledge given by the parishes lying 
in the proposed Missionary District that they will continue 
to pay toward the support of the Missionary Bishop the 
money now contributed toward the support of the Bishop of 
North Carolina. 

Third, your Committee believe the territory can be ad- 
ministered for the next three years without serious loss to 
the Church. 

1 ftQ^ November 12-13 The first Convention of the Dis- 
trict of Asheville was held in Trinity Church, Ashe- 
ville, Bishop Cheshire presiding, and in his address to the 
Convention he said: 

— 3 — 

"The jurisdiction of Asheville has been erected but no 
Bishop has been consecrated or elected for it. 

"But when another meeting of the House of Bishops 
convenes the election of a Missionary Bishop of Asheville 
may depend very largely upon our ability within this juris- 
dictiort to provide a considerable part of his salary. Your 
Bishop and deputies, when urging the memorial of the Dio- 
cese of North Carolina, were given plainly to understand 
that when part of an old Diocese is accepted by the General 
Convention as missionary territory and erected into a mis- 
sionary jurisdiction, the Board of Managers will expect such 
jurisdiction to assume a certain and specific part of the sup- 
port of their Bishop. 

"In our case this must be provided in two ways: First, 
we must keep our congregations up to the payment of the 
regular assessment for the episcopal and contingent fund: 

as soon as a bishop has been consecrated this 

should yield an annual income of over Five Hundred Dol- 
lars, in our present condition and at the present scale of 

"It however could be easily increased to Six Hundred Dol- 
lars by a careful collection of the small amounts asked from 
our numerous missions, and this without estimating any- 
thing from the increase and development of the work. But 
this sum is much less than we shall be expected to do to- 
ward the support of a bishop, and an effort should be made 
at once to raise a fund for the support of the episcopate. 

" It is surely not saying much when we say that 

two or three years may see sufficient growth to give us the 
required number of self supporting parishes for the diocese. 
If that should be the case, then nothing would stand in our 
way except the want of proper provision for the support of 
a bishop. Therefore, this first representative meeting of 
the missionary jurisdiction of Asheville should at once be- 
gin the work of preparing for the proper, permanent support 
of a bishop." (Journal of 1895, page 12.) 

1 &Q& ^ ^ e General Convention held in Washington, D. 
C, in October, the House of Bishops, upon a guar- 
antee of $2500.00 a year for a period of three years being giv- 
en nominated the Rev. Junius M. Horner, D. D., as Missionary 
Bishop for Asheville, and Bishop Horner was consecrated on 

the 28th of December of that year and entered upon his 

Of the amount so guaranteed, there was paid by the 
Treasurer of the District from the proceeds of the Ravens- 
croft Fund and the Episcopal & Contingent Fund $4167.08, 
the balance of $3332.92 being contributed by Mr. George 
Vanderbilt, who gave the guarantee. 

1 009 Convention held at Hickory June 12. In his ad- 

dress to the Convention Bishop Horner said, "In 

view of the report of the Finance Committee which has been 

placed in your hands I deem it my duty to call your 

attention specially to the financial condition of our District. 

"I think the greatest obligation resting upon us and the 
one that will be so considered by the Church in the United 
States is to become a self supporting Diocese at the earliest 
possible date and our growth in financial strength in the last 
few years warrants the calculation that within the next 
few years we can apply to the General Convention for 
organization into a Diocese. An examination of the con- 
tributions of our District to objects outside show, I think, 
that we have fully realized our obligations as to what might 
be expected from this District as expressed in the open let- 
ter of the Special Committee appointed to prepare a state- 
ment to go before the General Convention in asking for a 
Bishop for this District. 

"The guarantee of $2500.00 a year for three years towards 
support of a bishop has been paid in full to the Board of Mis- 
sions, and in addition thereto seven or eight hundred dollars 

a year has been contributed to the Board Contri- 

tributions of our District to objects outside shows, I think, 
principally extra parochial, have increased from $4022.00 in 
1898 to $8883.00 this year (1902). These figures indicate 
a very substantial financial growth and show that we may 
hope to become self supporting in a feW years. 

"Our obligations to the Board will be fully met 

and this will leave the income of our invested funds at the 
disposal of this Convention, unincumbered, as I feel, by any 
obligations whatever. This income is at present between 
$1000.00 and 1200.00. 

This income can be used towards forming an endowment 

fund for the District, or it can be expended in Missionary 
work in the District. 

"I strongly advocate the appointment of a Committee on 
Endowment, with instructions to endeavor to raise an endow- 
ment within the next five years, so that we may go before 
the General Convention in 1907 and ask to be organized into 
a Diocese, and the income of our invested funds should be 
placed at the disposal of this Committee to be used in this 
endowment. It would be needless for me to go into the 
details of this Committee, but I am satisfied that the nec- 
essary endowment can be raised without an undue burden 
upon any mission or parish." (Journal, 1902, page 60.) 

This part of the Bishop's address was referred to a spe- 
cial Committee which reported to this Convention that in- 
dependence with full privileges of a Diocese is to be earnestly 
hoped and planned for. They made five recommendations: 
That the Board of Managers be informed of our 

That the interest funds as they accumulate be 
applied to the improvement of the Ravenscroft 

That the trustees be authorized to use all means 
necessary for the improvement of the property. 

That a Committee of five be appointed to act 
with the Bishop in raising $10,000.00. 

Ask the Board of Missions to cooperate in raising 
$30,000.00, so relieving them of a permanent obliga- 
tion equal to an investment of $60,000.00. (Journal 
of 1902, page 32.) 

These recommendations were adopted and a Com- 
mittee appointed. 

1 00'*) Convention held at Waynesville. The Commit- 
tee on Endowment reported: At the present 
time it is inexpedient to make any effort to raise 

an Episcopal Endowment Fund until a legal decision 

shall be made in the actions to be brought by other Juris- 
dictions as to our claims upon funds in the hands of the Board 
of Missions. 

That the resolutions of the last Convention in regard to 
the proposed endowment be rescinded. 

That the revenues of the Ravenscorft and other funds be 
paid to the order of the Missionary Committee for the pur- 
pose of extending the work of that Committee. Page 25. 

1 QO-4- Convention at Lincolnton. Rev. Mr. Wetmore of- 
fered resolution that "The Bishop appoint a Com- 
mittee of three clerical and three' lay members of the Con- 
vention to solicit funds both within and without the District 
of Asheville for an Episcopal endowment, to the end that 
we may become a diocese." Page 40. 

Resolution adopted and Committee appointed. 

1 QO^S Convention in Asheville. The Committee on Endow- 
ment reported that the matter committed to them 
was vague, no plan was reported, and that the purpose of the 
resolution seemed merely to be to keep the matter before the 
Church and remind our people that we hoped some time to 
become a diocese. 

Later in the session the following resolution was adopt- 
ed: "That the parishes and missions of the District be re- 
quested to take two offerings during the next year for the 
Episcopal Endowment Fund, and that the Clergy of the Dis- 
trict be earnestly requested to explain and impress the im- 
portance of this fund upon the individual members of their 
congregations. Pages 27-28. 

1 00*7 Convention at Lenoir. The Committee on Endow- 
ment reported progress and recommended that an 
effort be made to secure some of the Men's Missionary Thank 
Offering, which was then being solicited, for our Endow- 
ment Fund. 

"IQAQ Convention at Morganton. Committee on Endow- 
ment reported nothing doing but urged decision to 
become a diocese in a definite time, with or without assist- 
ance from without the District. 

1 OOO Convention at Asheville. Committee on Endowment 
reported small receipts and urged that the matter 
be kept before the people. 

1 Q 1 Convention at Waynesville. On motion the Commit- 
tee appointed to frame a plan for Diocesan organi- 
zation was discharged. 

1 Q 1 A. Convention at Asheville It was resolved: That the 

"^ Bishop be requested to appoint a Committee of five 

to consider and report to the next Convention some plan by 

— 7 — 

which the District may be formed into a diocese at the next 
meeting of the General Convention. 

The Bishop appointed the Rev. Dr. Swope, the Rev. W. 
Brown, the Rev. F. D. Lobdell and Messrs Parker and Bacon 
as such committee 

1 Q 1 ^S Convention at Asheville. The Committee appoint- 
"*" ed at the last Convention reported the Assets of the 
District to be: 

Episcopal Endowment Fund $ 798.12 

Atlantic Coast Line Bonds 4000.00 

Notes and other securities 37550.00 

Real Estate, conservatively estimated as 

worth 30000.00 

To be received from the Board of Missions if 
claimed before another Missionary 
District $10000.00 


From this sum a loan of $2,000.00 made to the Education 
Fund in 1909 for which the Atlantic Coast Line bonds are 
pledged must be deducted, "leaving $80,348.12 as the amount 
which on a conservative estimate the District now has or 
may anticipate having in the near future." 

Also that "We must increase our contributions so as to 

meet the charges now being paid from the Raven- 

scroft Interest account; making up the existing deficit in the 
District Missions' Fund; and increase that fund by approxi- 
mately $2000; in short, the District will have to raise about 
$4,000 a year in excess of what it is now doing .... Let 
this Convention then inaugurate a definite policy for in- 
creasing our contributions with Diocesan autonomy as the 
objective, and this, if possible, in 1916." 

On motion it was resolved That the report of the 
Committee on some plan by which the District may 
be formed into a Diocese, presented yesterday by the 
Rev. Dr. Swope, be received and printed in the Journal, and 
that the Committee be enlarged, so as to consist of twelve 
members, five clerical and seven lay. 

Resolved, further, That this Committee be instructed to 
consider and formulate a plan by which the District may be 
formed into a Diocese and report the same to the next Con- 

1 Q 1 f} Convention at Asheville. In his address the Bishop 
said: "After some discussion at our last Convention 
it was decided to enlarge the special Committee on Diocesan 
Organization to twelve members, with the expectation that 
a practical plan might be worked out that would make it 
advisable to take definite action towards organization. We 
are all agreed perhaps in the desire for Diocesan organiza- 
tion, but may differ greatly as to the method. 

"As Bishop of this District, I have from the very first 
looked forward to such organization, and have desired 
it, but have objected to two methods, which have seemed 
to some the simplest and most desirable. One of these 
methods was for the Bishop to go outside and secure contri- 
bution, sufficient to make, with what assets we have, an 
endowment for the Diocese. I have had all I could do to 
get money from outside in sufficient amounts to carry on the 
school and evangelical work of the District, and I objected 
both as a matter of principle and as a matter of practica- 
bility to this method. 

"The other method advanced has been the one I under- 
stand the present committee is prepared to propose to this 
Convention. That is, to take all the present available as- 
sets which have, up to this time been used to supplement the 
meagre stipends of the Missionary Clergy, and to put such 
amounts into a special fund for an Episcopal endowment and 
to trust to the new impetus given by Diocesan organization 
to make up the loss to the Missionary Clergy. Such impetus 
may possibly be sufficient to make up to the Clergy the loss 
in their stipends they would thus surrender. I doubt it, 
however, very seriously. 

"My advice would be: That the committee appointed can- 
vass by some special arrangement the whole District and find 
out beforehand, what each Parish and Mission would be able 
and willing to contribute each year towards the Mission fund to 
make up for the loss of the income from the present fund, 
and if it should be found that the contributions so pledged 
would be sufficient to make up the stipends needed, then the 
Missionary Clergy might be justified in voting to surrender 
their claims upon the present income from invested funds 
... . The whole District should be consulted and informed 
in regard to this organization, and if this is done and the 

— 9 — 

District as a whole feels sufficiently interested to back up 
their interest with contributions and pledges in satisfactory- 
amounts, I would be most heartily in favor of immediate or- 
ganization thereupon." 

The Committee on Diocesan Organization presented their 
report as follows: 

"Your Committee has held two meetings during the past 
year and it presents the following as a result of its deliber- 

To endow the Episcoate will require a principal sum of 
approximately $66,000.00, which invested at 5 per cent will 
yield $3,300.00. The Trustees of the District have now ap- 
proximately $40,000.00 derived from the sale of real estate. 
There are also Atlantic Coast Line bonds to the value of 
$2,000.00 owned by the District, and $798.12 in what is called 
the Episcopal Endowment Fund; so we have in hand $42,- 
798.12. We have also the promise of the General Board of 
Missions that, should our district become a Diocese before 
another Missionary District applies for it, we will receive 
$10,000.00, a balance in the hands of the Board of what has 
been known as the Harold Brown Fund; so that we will have 
to raise $14,000.00 to complete the principal sum named, 

It is highly probable that in the next few years the Trus- 
tees will come into possession of much more than this amount, 
as in addition to what they now have in hand, there are some 
lots unsold in the Eavenscroft property, and the whole of the 
valuable Roebling tract 

Your Committee recommends, therefore, that this Conven- 
tion formally set aside all invested funds derived from the sale 
of real estate, including the present $2,000.00 of Atlantic Coast 
Line bonds, now in the hands of the Trustees, as a permanent 
fund for the support of the Episcopate; and, further, to pro- 
vide that all money received hi the future from the sale of 
real estate at Ravenscroft and the Roebling tract shall be- 
come a part of this same fund until the Permanent Fund 
amounts to $66,000.00; and that, until the Permanent Fund 
is completed, the amount necessary to complete the stipend 
paid the Bishop shall be assessed upon the Parishes and 

Your Committee recommends, further, that the necessary 

— 10 — 

canonical action be taken at this time to organize the District 

into a Diocese. 

(Signed) EODNEY R. SWOPE, Chairman; 

This report received an animated and enthusiastic dis- 
cussion, and on motion of Mr. Haywood Parker, it was 

Resolved, That it is the desire and request of this Con- 
vention that the Bishop call a Convention of this District to 
meet within the next sixty days for the purpose of consider- 
ing and taking such action as many be necessary to make 
proper application to the next General Convention for erect- 
ing the District into a Diocese. 

And on motion of the Rev. E. N. Joyner, it was 

Resolved, That the Committee on Diocesan Organization 
be continued, and that this committee be instructed to take 
action at the earliest possible moment to bring the merits 
and methods of this matter before the Parishes and Missions 
of the District. 

A Special Convention was called by the Bishop to meet 
August 16, 1916, but on August 8, the Council of Advice ad- 
vised the Bishop to withdraw and cancel the call for this con- 
vention, on the ground of exigencies having arisen owing to 
the notable flood of July. The call for the convention was 
thereupon cancelled. All possibility therefore, of the for- 
mation of ai Diocese in 1916 was thus frustrated and again 
left to be carried over for the consideration of some future 
Annual Convention. 

1 Q 1 7 Convention at Tryon. The Committee on Diocesan 
Organization presented the following report, which 
was adopted, and the Committee continued. 

"Your Committee respectfully submits: 

First, That this committee believes that this District is 
possessed of sufficient property and Trust Funds, to enable 
it to make application to become a Diocese. 

— 11 — 

Secondly, That the conditions in this District warrant us 
in making such application to the General Convention. 

Your Committee recommend that this Convention either 
appoint another committee for this purpose, or continue the 
present Committee on Diocesan Organization, and instruct it 
to prepare all necessary data looking towards suitable action, 
at our next Annual Convention, whereby we may make appli- 
cation to the General Convention for admission as a Diocese 

Be it Resolved, Therefore, That this Convention request 
the Bishop at this Convention, to designate, and call our next 
Annual Convention for the purpose of making such appli- 
cation to become a Diocese, in addition to its regular busi- 

And on motion the Committee was continued. 

In his address the Bishop said: "IV. I would like you to 
start now with some definite policy looking to the organi- 
zation of the District into a Diocese before the next General 
Convention if possible, and in order to do this, we must lose 
no time in preparing each Parish and Mission for the change. 

1 Q 1 f% Under date of March 22, 1918, the Committee on 
Diocesan Organization sent out a letter stating that: 
"The proposition resolves itself into one of ways and means, 
and as nearly $3,100.00 in addition to the present existing ap- 
portionments must be raised annually in order that the sti- 
pends of the Missionaries may be met and assured, you are 
requested to bring this to the attention of your congregation, 

At the Convention at Asheville the Committee presented 
the following report: 

"Your Committtee offer for your action the following res- 
olution. Resolved, That the Bishop and the Secretary 
notify the Board of Missions that it is the purpose of the 
District of Asheville to take action at its 1919 Convention, 
by resolution and in conformity with canonical requirements, 
to request the Triennial General Convention to admit the 
District as a Diocese. 

Resolved, That all sums accruing from the permanent 
funds during the year 1918, which income has hitherto been 
used to pay missionary stipends and otherwise, be set aside 
in escrow in interest bearing certificates of some bank, and 
said sum be held subject to the action of the 1919 Convention. 

— 12 — 

The Treasurer of the District being hereby directed to so in- 
vest said income and to report to the next Convention. 

Resolved, That whereas the Bishop has heretofore been 
using the income from the invested funds to pay missionary 
stipends, and that the withdrawal of this income will mate- 
rially handicap the work of the District, that an assessment 
in proportion to their several abilities to pay be levied on the 
Parishes and Missions of the District, said assessment to 
equal the net income derived from the invested funds for the 
year 1917, and said assessment to be paid by the Parishes and 
Missions in quarterly installments to the District Treasurer. 

Resolved, That should this plan work out successfully 
in the coming year, the District stands pledged to adopt at 
its 1919 Convention resolutions necessary to admission as a 

In his Address the Bishop said: 

"The minimum required bythe canons to justify organiza- 
tion is a little less than $3,000, and this should seem a small 
amount for a district like this to be called upon to raise, but 
when we consider it from another point of view and know that 
to maintain the work as now organized, we get from without 
the District something more than $50,000 a year, we must 
realize that we are not yet ready to assume self support and 
independence. It is true that part of this outside help 
would continue to be given, but more or less of it would be 
jeopardized, and it would be much harder for our Mission- 
aries to secure this outside help. They all feel, I am sure, 
it is hard enough as it is 

" we should, for our own good, postpone an at- 
tempt at organization for the present, and until the laity of 
the various Parishes and Missions have been fully informed 
of the issues involved in organization. If they, knowing 
what is involved, will agree to take up the financial burden re- 
quired, I would be more than rejoiced to cooperate with them 
and to push the organization to completion. 

"I hope the committee on organization will bring in 
some plan that will put to the practical test the financial at- 
titude of the laity both of the Parishes and Missions." 

Finally, a vote was taken, by orders, on the question of ac- 
cepting the report of the Committee and adopting its recom- 
mendations, its plan to be put into effect immediately. The 

— 13 — 

motion, as above, was thereupon adopted by an almost unan- 
imous vote, only three clerical votes being cast in the nega- 
tive. The Committee was thereupon discharged and the 
matter of assessing the Parishes and Missions turned over to 
the Missionary Committee. Page 22. 

After the adjournment of the Convention, the Finance 
Committee reported to the Missionary Committee that "the 
additional fixed expenses we would have to assume, by becom- 
ing a Diocese, are at least $4,500.00 annually." 

— 14 — 


1895. Priests 16; Deacons 7; Total Clergy 22. Parish- 
es 8; Organized Missions 11; Unorganized 35 

1896. Families 637; Persons 2769; Baptisms 322; Con- 
firmations 203; Communicants 1368; S. S. Teachers 149; 
Pupils 1305; Parish Schools 10; Teachers 14; Pupils 482. 
Offerings $12,307.50; District Missions $618.04. 

1914. Priests 28; Deacons 6; Parishes 13; Organized 
Missions 33; Unorganized 47; Families 1781; Persons 5889; 
Baptisms 352; Confirmations 215; Communicants 3223; S. 
S. Teachers 305; Pupils 2605; Mission Teachers 53; Scholars 
1053; Offerings $39,632.70. 

1917-1918. (Statistics for 19 months.) Priests 31; Dea- 
cons 4; Parishes 15; Organized Missions 33; Unorganized 
39; Families ; Persons 6,280; Baptisms 610; Confirma- 
tions 327; Communicants 3,679; S. S. Teachers, 271; Pupils 
2,838; Mission Teachers 31; Scholars 701; Offerings $89,704.95 
for 19 months, an average of $4,721 31 a month, or say $56,- 
655.72 for 12 months. 

15 — 


Form No. A-368, Rev. 8/95